19 06 2010

Brittany and Bandit waiting at the summit for the bikers

Tuesday 15
Mileage:  61
Average Speed: 16.2

Since we were fortunate enough to have access to TV this morning we were able to watch some of the world cup!  We were able to see Portugal play against the Ivory Coast and some of the Brazil versus North Korea game while we loaded the van.  After getting ice for our cooler we were excited to continue biking towards Utah.  Not that we didn’t want to stay in the lovely, windy and dusty state that has been Nevada.  Fortunately though, the wind was not too bad and the sun was out in full force as it beamed down upon us.  Thus, we prepared appropriately by applying a coat of sunscreen and by 11:00 we began biking.

The first climb was not too difficult it was the ride down that provided a different challenge.  While we were able to use gravity to our advantage it was the wind that made the downhill difficult.  It seemed as if the wind could not decide what direction to blow in as it seemed to challenge us from all directions.  Thankfully we are strong burly men and we were able to handle the elements that were presented to us.  Once we reached the bottom we biked about 6 miles to the next summit, and thankfully this time we were able to use the wind to our advantage.  It was within no time that we were climbing again, lucky us.  This summit was one of the more difficult ones we have come across in Nevada as we ascended 1200 feet in 5 miles.  When we finally reached the top we took a break to catch our breath and have lunch.  Before continuing we remembered that we needed to apply more sunscreen.  Now as we all know, Colin and Joe are some of the manliest men that you may ever come across.  With that said, it was at the top of the summit where they rubbed sunscreen into each others backs as cars passed by, in a masculine manner of course.  The descent down this summit was more enjoyable than the previous and within no time we were crossing the border into Utah! 

We had only made it maybe 10 miles into Utah, and as night was approaching we could not find any camping.  Thus, we had to back track to Nevada where we camped at Great Basin National Park.  It was during dinner that we realized we have become more accustomed to outdoor living.  A perfect example of this was when Alex was eating his dinner and said “I can see there is a bug in my food, but I’m going to eat it anyway.” And with that he added a little more protein to his diet.  We finished dinner and went to bed…

Wednesday 16
Average: 15.3

Knowing we were going to loose an hour due to the Mountain time zone change, we tried to get going early.  As soon as we got to the spot where we stopped yesterday we knew it was going to be a long day because it was so windy.  The first 24 miles up to the first summit took about 2 hours of biking while averaging only 12.3 mph.  It seemed like the longest 2 hours of our lives.  From the top of the summit we could tell that there was a sand storm in the valley below.  The descent from the summit was slow going as well because of the wind.  It was coming from the side and almost pushed us over so we had to hold on the breaks most of the way down.  Once we got to the sand storm we had visibility only about 5 feet in front of us.  However, it was a short distance through the sand storm.  On the top of the second summit Alex joined in for his first ride since his wipe out.  He felt pretty good but only wished he didn’t have to wear a long sleeve shirt to cover his wounds from the sun.  He did a total of 10 miles, feeling well enough that he decided he will try to do the whole ride the next day.  Then we stopped a couple miles outside of Milford to set up camp in a open pasture next to a hill that blocked some of the wind.   

Thursday 17
Mileage:  52
Average Speed: 17.3

We arose to a heard of cattle crossing near our campsite.  We are beginning to feel that there is no animal that we will not encounter as we travel across country.  After watching our new friends leave we cleaned up and started another day of biking.  We should note that today was the first day since Alex’s accident that all three of the boys were able to ride together.  While Brittany was sad to lose her companion, she may have been more relieved as he took a certain aroma with him to the road. 

Our goal for today had been to make it to Cedar City.  According to the map there was only one summit between us and our goal.  With everyone riding together we seemed to make it to the top in no time.  We took a break to eat lunch and we were soon biking down to Cedar City.  There was not much to the scenery minus a sheep farm.  Upon arrival we stopped by a local bike shop where Colin bought a new chain.  We then did some grocery shopping as we were all running low on food.

We had wanted to camp in Zion National Park since we wanted to spend the following day there.  However, we arrived half an hour too late and were unable to obtain a camping permit for the night.  Therefore, we returned to Cedar City where we found a KOA (we don’t know what it stands for either) and set up camp.  While we would have preferred to camp in Zion National Park we are happy to find we have access to showers here.  We all look forward to shedding our coat of sunscreen that we have developed over the past few days.  KOA has interesting sites as we had access to WiFi, electricity and our very own lamp.  After setting up our tents and eating dinner we then performed the weekly activity that we have all come to love, organizing the van!  After this fun filled event we returned to our campsite where we ate Cookie Cake!!  Brittany had bought it while at the store in celebration of Alex’s and Colin’s Birthdays on the 19th and 22nd

Friday 18

Since the guys have been working so hard, they decided to take a day off and enjoy the surrounding environment that they normally wiz by on the bike.  After taking some much needed showers and KOA, we packed up the van and headed to our next campsite. 

We found a beautiful spot right next to a creek at Cedar Canyon Campground and set up our tents.  From the campground it was only 5 miles to Ashdown Gorge.  We started at the bottom of the gorge and hiked up following Rattlesnake Creek.  On either side of us were beautiful red cliffs.  The website for the hike warned about getting wet due to crossing the creek.  We came prepared as we zig-zaged back and forth across the water attempting not to fall in or get swept away by the current; Bandit and Joe had the hardest time with this!  We were all distracted by the colors and shapes of the rocks along the hike.  Joe and Colin were trying to find rocks shaped like hearts while Brittany and Alex were amazed with the variety of colors and color combinations.  The views were breath-taking the whole way but it wasn’t until we were a few miles in that the cliffs seemed to close in on us the more we walked; the patterns of erosion were most beautiful here.  We only wished we had enough time to do the whole thing.  However, it was 10 miles one way and we would have had to hike up and then back down again and didn’t have enough time for that.  After returning to our campsite we made some dinner and played cards.  We hadn’t had a fire in over a week and decided it was a perfect night to do so since it was quite cold.  The night quickly came to an end as we grew tired sitting by the warm fire.  Tomorrow the boys will return to biking!

Saturday 19

Happy Birthday Alex!  No one set an alarm this morning which was a mistake as we woke up an hour later than we wanted to.  We ate a quick breakfast and packed up to return to Cedar City where the bikers ended two days ago; the carwash, Mr. Bubbles!  Before the biking began, Joe returned to the bike store to purchase new bike shorts and a much needed squishy seat!  Also, during this time Alex called his parents.  We were lucky enough to hear Mrs. James sing a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday as she was unaware Alex had put her on speakerphone. 

Since Alex and the boys love climbing so much, it will be a great birthday for sure!  They are climbing 5,000 feet in 25 miles!  They knew what was ahead of them because our campsite was along the route they are following.  Because of the difficulty it will most likely be a low mileage day but a great accomplishment none the less. 

Stay happy and healthy,

Joe, Brittany, Alex, and Colin

Joe and Colin in their Burnt Hills wear! (Yes, Joe is wearing a girl's XC/track uniform)

Alex and Colin - Love while cooking some dinner!

The sand storm!

The happy bikers!

Birthday boys with their cookie cake!

All of us at Ashdown Gorge!

Hiking in the Gorge.




3 responses

20 06 2010
Lisa Morahan

I am so psyched to be travelling vicariously through you…as Eric is abosultely doing for sure as well. What a wonderful lifetime experience you are on! God Speed!!!
Love, floydwarrior Lisa M.

21 06 2010

Happy Belated Birthday Alex!, I am sure you’ll never forget this one


22 06 2010

Um, you guys are my favorite people ever.

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